Biologists Call for Halt to Gene Editing Technique in Humans
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: March 23rd, 2015
A group of leading biologists on Thursday called for a worldwide moratorium on use of a new genome-editing technique that would alter human DNA in a way that can be inherited. Ethicists, for decades, have been concerned about the dangers of altering the human germline meaning to make changes to human sperm, eggs or embryos that will last through the life of the individual and be passed on to future generations. Until now, these worries have been theoretical. But a technique invented in 2012 makes it possible to edit the genome precisely and with much greater ease. The technique has already been used to edit the genomes of mice, rats and monkeys, and few doubt that it would work the same way in people. Though such a moratorium would not be legally enforceable and might seem unlikely to exert global influence, there is a precedent. In 1975, scientists worldwide were asked to refrain from using a method for manipulating genes, the recombinant DNA technique, until rules had been established. We asked at that time that nobody do certain experiments, and in fact nobody did, to my knowledge, said Dr. Baltimore, who was a member of the 1975 group. The new genome-editing approach was invented by Jennifer A. Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier of Umea University in Sweden. Many ethicists have accepted the idea of gene therapy, changes that die with the patient, but draw a clear line at altering the germline, since these will extend to future generations.
Note: Is this voluntary moratorium enough to stay the hand of our corrupt scientific establishment?